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Full text of "A sermon preached at the opening of the Theological Institution in Andover : and at the ordination of Rev. Eliphalet Pearson, LL.D. September 28th, 1808"

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SEPTEMBER 28th, 1808. 





Belcher and Armstrong', Printers. 

cepts, which they contain. To this end it is necessary, 
that he should thoroughly understand his own language, 
the Latin, the Greek, and the Hebrew. Of the last he 
cannot be ignorant without serious disadvantages ; nor 
of the three first, in ordinary circumstances, without 
disgrace. If he cannot construe words and phrases ; 
he cannot settle the opinions, which they express ; but 
must always be bewildered in uncertainty, and error. 
If he io not versed in his own language ; he cannot un- 
derstand the books which he reads, nor communicate 
his sentiments as he wishes. In ancient History, both 
civil and ecclesiastical, he ought to be well read ; be- 
cause, otherwise, he will not know the meaning of the 
numerous Scriptural allusions to the former, nor the 
state of the Church, as unfolded in the latter ; and be- 
cause a large part of the proofs of a divine Revelation 
rest upon the facts, furnished by both. He ought to 
be thoroughb/ acquainted with Logic, because, other- 
wise, he cannot reason with skill, or success ; with 
Rhetoric, because it is necessary to teach him how to 
write, and speak, with propriety and force ; with Nat- 
ural Theology, because it is a branch of his profes- 
sional science, and because the Scriptures have made 
it a part, and a fundamental one, of the Religion which 
he teaches ; and with Christian Theology, because it 
constitutes the principal business of his office. Gene- 
rally, his mind ought to be variously, and extensively, 
furnished with useful knowledge ; because, otherwise, 
his vieM' s will be contracted ; his illustrations of divine 
truth inapposite, uninstructivc, and unsatisfactory ; and 
his ijTiages few, poor, and often low and disgusting. 

He is set for the defence of the truth ; and must, 
therefore, be furnished with the necessary weapons of 
defence. He is to teach others ; and, thereforje, ought 
to be able to teach. Without this knowledge he may, 
indeed, as it is indispensable that he should, be a good 
man ; but he will not be a good teacher. Every one, 
who hears him, may address to him the humiliating 
and unanswerable proverb ; " Physician, heal thyself." 

That a Religious Instructor ought to have his mind 
thus stored with the knowledge, suited to his employ- 
ment, is forcibly taught in the text. It is also exhib- 
ited with equal force in other parts of the Scriptures. 

The ancient instructors of the Jews were the Priests^ 
and the Prophets ; the ordinary, and extraordinary, 
Ministers of God to his people. The Priests were re- 
quired to teach the children of Israel all the statutes, 
which ^/«? Lord had spoken by the hand of Moses. ^ 
Accordingly, Moses prophesied of them, that they 
should teach the law^ and the judgments^ of God to Is- 
rael ■\ in succeeding generations. By the Prophet 
Malachi, God testifies concerning them, that the law of 
truth was in their mouth, and that they turned away 
many from their iniquity. " For the Pries fs lips,''* he 
subjoins, '-^should keep knowledge ; and they should 
seek law at his mouth.^^X ^^ the Priest's lips were to 
keep knowledge ; his mind must have obtained it. If 
the people were to seek the law at his mouth ; he must 
have previously learned, and understood, the law. It 
ought not to be forgotten, that, in this passage, the 
Prophet has connected with the knowledge of the law 

•♦ Lev. 10. 11. t Dent. 33. 10. t Mai. 2. 

integrity of instruction, rectitude of life, and a minis- 
trj', successful in turning many from their iniquit}'. 

It is dccliired by the Jewish Rabbins, and is adopted 
from them by Lightfoot, that some, at least, of the 
cities, distributed to the Levites, were universities, de- 
\oted to the education of those who belonged to that 

The Prophets were extraordinary Ministers to the 
people of Israel. It is well known, that they were in- 
spired ; or that the will of God was, from time to 
time, immediately revealed to them. It is also well 
known, that they were carefully educated to their pro- 
fession in schools, consecrated to this purpose. • Rama- 
thaim Zophim, or Tsophim^ i. e. the Ramaths of the 
See7's, contained the first of these schools, spoken of in 
the Scriptures. Over this school Samuel presided. 
Others were afterwards erected in other places ; and 
were superintended, probably, by Elijah, Elisha, Na- 
thati. Gad, and other Prophets, in their respective times. 
After the captivitv, schools, generally of the same na- 
ture, were set up at Babylon, and elsewhere : some of 
which were holden in high repute by the Jewish nation. 

That God was pleased to educate men, destined by 
him to receive the spirit of inspiration, under the most 
enlightened Instructors of their respective ages, is a 
strong and decisis e argument for the liberal education 
of men to the Ministry of the Gospel. There is, how- 
e\"cr, a fact, which furnishes an argument of still great- 
er strength, and more decisive efficacy. Christ se- 
lected his Apostles for the great ^vork of preaching the 
gospel to mankind. Exclusively of St. Paul, who was 

educated In all the learning of the Jexvs^ and to a con- 
siderable extent in that of the Greeks, He himself 
taught all his Apostles with his own mouth, nacre, ac- 
cording to the common opinion, than three years, and, 
in mine, more than four. Never was there such a 
Teacher : never such a luminous course of Instruc- 
tion. How immensely important they esteemed it we 
know froni their own testimony, and from the daily 
and extensive use which they made of these instruc- 
tions in their preaching and writings. Yet these men 
were destined by their Master to receive the inspira- 
tion of the Holy Ghost, in a degree totally transcend- 
ing that, which had been vouchsafed to any other 

These illustrations, if I mistake not, place the im^ 
portance of an enlightened education to those, who are 
designed for the Evangelical Ministry, in a light, which 
nothing can obscure ; and lend to it a sanction, which 
nothing can lessen. 

What is thus unequivocally, and so strongly, enforc- 
ed by the Scriptures, Reason and Experience urge 
upon mankind with their united voice. Reason pro- 
claims, that an ignorant teacher is necessarily a mere 
Empiric, professing to communicate what he does not 
possess. Experience testifies, that all such Teachers 
distribute to their hearers chaff instead of wheat ; and 
that they are so far from being able to furnish food for 
men, as to be incapable of supplying the milk, which is 
necessary for babes. 

There are, however, many persons in this and other 
Christian countries, who declare, both in their Ian- 

guage and ccxnduct, that the desk ought to be yielded 
up to the occupancy of Ignorance. While they de- 
mand a ^even-years-apprenticeship, for the purpose of 
learning to make a shoe, or an axe ; they suppose the 
system of Providence, together with the numerous, 
and frequently abstruse, doctrines and precepts, con- 
tained in the Scriptures, may be all comprehended 
without learning, labour, or time. While they insist, 
equally with others, that their property shall be man- 
aged by skilful agents, their judicial causes directed 
by learned advocates, and their children, when sick, 
attended by able physicians ; they are satisfied to place 
tliigir Religion, their souls, and their salvation, under 
the guidance of quackery. Among these people, men 
become preachers in a moment ; and put on the quali- 
fications for the Ministry, as they put on a coat. Mul- 
titudes of them can neither speak, nor write, nor even 
read, English with propriety. They can neither ex- 
plain, nor understand, the great body of Scriptural pas- 
sages. They profess themselves to be set for the de- 
fence of the truth ; and yet know not what the truth 
is, nor what are the means of defending it. Should 
the Gospel be attacked by an Infidel ; they are unable 
either to answer his objections, or to tell what are the 
proofs, on which its authority rests as a Revelation from 
God. Should the translation of a text be called in 
question ; they could neither explain, nor defend it. 
Should a geographical, or historical fact be mentioned ; 
or a local custom alluded to { \t might, so far as they 
are concerned, as well have been written in ArabiCy as 
in English. 

At the same time, men of this character are incapable 
of the decorum, and dignity, which are indispensable in 
the desk. By mankind, at large, Religion is primarily 
seen in its Ministers ; and, in the common apprehen- 
sion, almost necessarily takes the degree of reputation 
and importance, which it actually sustains, from the 
manner, in which it is exhibited by the7n. If Ministers 
are respectable ; Religion will by mankind in general 
be respected. If they are grave ; it will be regarded 
with seriousness. If they are intelligent ; it will be 
believed to be a compend of wisdom. If they are re- 
fined ; it will be supposed actually to refine and purify 
man. If they are dignified ; it will be believed to be 
noble. If they are pious ; it will be acknowledged to 
be real. 

But if, on the contrary. Ministers are contemptible ; 
Religion will be despised. If they exhibit levity in 
their manners ; it will be considered as a mere collec- 
tion of trifles. If they are ignorant ; it will be suppos- 
ed to be a mass of folly. If they are vulgar ; it will 
be regarded, not by superior minds only, but ultimate- 
ly by the people at large, as a system of grovelling 

I doctrines, and debasing precepts, lowering the charac- 
ter of man to a degree, beneath even his natural de- 
gradation. If their deportment exhibits, on the whole, 
meanness and littleness of character ; Religion itself 

i| will sink down to their level ; and become the subject 

II _ of disgrace, and the object of scorn and ridicule. 

I will not occupy the time of this assembly in refut- 
ing, any farther, the miserable shifts, and impious pre- 
I tensions, by which these men endea^-our to support 


themselves in this wretched cause. Without a shadow 
of ai'gument in its favour, it can be embraced only by 
imposture, ignorance, or enthusiasm ; and must al- 
ways shrink, from the touch of sober investigation. 
That it will continue to engross the attachment, and 
the labours, of many persons in this and other Chris- 
tian countries, is certainly to be expected : foT it must 
needs be, that offences come ; but woe to that man, by 
'Whom the offence cometh. All that can be done by the 
friends of Christianity, toAvards an effectual resistance 
against this evil, is to lessen, as far as may be, the in- 
fluence of those causes, from which it springs ; and 
thus to prevent the existence of their effects. The In- 
stitution, whose birth we are this day assembled to 
celebrate, is designed, peculiarly, to accomplish this 
invaluable end. Its efficacy may in some measure be 
understood from the following considerations. 

1st. It is the design of this Institution to furnish stu- 
dents with a siffcient opportunity to prepare themselves 
for the Ministry of the Gospel. 

For this end, it not only offers them gratuitous in- 
struction, and the gratuitous use of such books, as are 
fitted to this purpose ; but provides for them, also, at 
least to a considerable extent, the buildings in which 
they are to live, and the necessary expences of living. 
It has long been a frequent, and unhappily a too well 
^founded, complaint, that Theological students were, in 
many instances, forced into the desk, very imperfectly 
fitted for their profession, because their pecuniary cir- 
cumstances would not permit them to pursue their 
studies through a sufficient length of time. The 


foundation of this complaint, it is hoped,' will here, in a 
great measure, be taken away ; and young men, des- 
tined for the Ministry, be furnished with those accom- 
modations for their great purpose, which will enable 
them to pursue it through such a period, as wise and 
good judges shall deem necessary. The stated period 
will probably be thought sufficient ; when it is remem- 
bered, that each student will previously have obtained 
a regular and liberal education. 

2dly. A library will be furnished^ sufficiently various y 
and extensive^ for the purposes intended. 

As the books, involved in this part of the Institu- 
tion, will all be selected solely for the benefit of those, 
who are to use them ; they will probably yield advan- 
tages, which can be enjoyed, elsewhere, only by means 
of much more extensive collections. 

3dly. Professors will he established in the five great 
divisions of theological education : Natural Theology^ 
Christian Theology, Sacred Literature, Ecclesiastical 
History, and the Eloquence of the Desk. To these it 
may, hereafter, be thought expedient to add a Profes-, 
sor of the Oriental Languages. 

It is hardly necessary for me to observe, that each of 
tliese branches of Theological Learning is sufficiently 
extended, and various, to demand, and to exhaust, the 
utmost talents of a single man ; or tliat the instruction 
in each, which will be highly profitable to students in 
Theology, may advantageously employ the whole time, 
and labour, of the most learned Professor. 

In this country, hitherto, such students, after having 
completed a regular course of Collegiate education. 


have generally, and necessarily, been placed under the 
tutelage of parochial Ministers. An individual, in this 
case, has furnished all their professional instruction ; 
and that while encumbered by the superintendance of 
a parish, and the labour of writing, and preaching, two 
sermons in a week. Of this subject I speak with con- 
fidence, because I speak from experience ; and cannot 
but have learned, in this way, the embarrassments, in- 
separable from a course of instruction, so interwoven 
with other perplexing concerns. Were an Instructor 
ever so competent : it would be impossible for him to 
command sufficient time to communicate the knowl- 
edge, which ought to be considered as indispensable. 
Even the principal things must be summarily taught. 
The r€st, both numerous and important, must be either 
barely glanced at, or wholly passed over. The true 
reason, why so many able and excellent divines have 
existed in this country, does not lie in their prepara- 
tory advantages, but in their talents, their fidelity, ancj 
their subsequent vigorous application to study. 

In the present case these disadvantages are removed. 
Men of known reputation are here selected for the pur- 
poses of studying, and instructing, severally, each of 
these great divisions of Theological knowledge : and 
this to each of them becomes the business of life. They 
are secluded from all other employments ; and encum- 
bered by no other cares, beside those, which are uni- 
versally incident to man. Ample opportunity, there- 
fore, to make extensive acquisitions is here furnished 
to them all ; to arrange into system whatever they ac- 
quire ; to correct whatever they find erroneous ; and 


to teach with regularity and method the results of their 
various labours. 

At the same time, they will direct with similar re- 
gularity that course of reading, which is best suited to 
a Theological education ; demand of their students 
those exercises, which will render what they read their 
OAvn ; watch attentively their moral and religious de- 
portment ; withdraw them from errors ; reprove them 
for faults ; warn them of dangers ; and endeavour, 
universally, to increase their knowledge of experiment- 
tal piety. 

4thly. Stiiderits may here derive peculiar advantages 
from each other. 

It is reasonably believed, that a considerable num- 
ber of youths will ultimately assemble in this place, for 
the purpose of obtaining an education for the Ministry ; 
and will naturally be united to each other in the bonds 
of friendship. All Ministers ought to be friends. To 
this end, however, some knowledge of each other is no 
less necessary, than mutual good will. When Minis- 
ters are educated separately, and solitarily, this knowl- 
edge, in ordinary cases, cannot exist ; and, when it ac- 
tually exists, must often be very imperfect. Here, 
being educated together, being of the same age, pupils 
of the same Instructors, tenants of the same buildings, 
engaged in the same delightful pursuits, and actuated, 
as we may reasonably hope, by the same spirit, the}' 
can hardly fail to be of one accord, and of one mind. 
The friendships, formed in youth, are peculiarly inti- 
mate and endearing. "The very phrase, " A friend of 
my youth," carries with it an image, which few m€i> 


survey without delightful emotions. The friendships, 
formed here, will, it is believed, spring from the best 
of all sources ; Evangelical Virtue. They will, also, 
be strongly cemented by oneness of age, education, cir- 
cumstances, and pursuits. They will, therefore, last 
through life ; will have a powerful influence on the 
character and conduct ; will extend their efficacy over 
every part of this land ; and will effect, in the happiest 
manner, all the moral and religious interests of its in- 

5thly. The doctrines^ which will be taught here^ are 
the doctrines of the reformation. 

These are the doctrines, generally taught in the 
creeds, catechisms, and confessions, of almost all Pro- 
testant Churches. They are the doctrines, conveyed 
down to us from the earliest periods of the Church by 
that body of Christians, to whom the title of Orthodox 
was peculiarly applied, both by tliemselves and their 
opposers. They are the doctrines, brought with them 
by those eminently good men, who converted New- 
England from a desert into a garden. They are the 
doctrines, under which almost all Revivals of Religion 
have existed. They are, therefore, the doctrines, 
which have peculiar claims to be acknowledged as 
those of the Apostles. An Institution, which provides 
extensive and permanent instruction in Religious knowl- 
edge, of such a nature, sets up, in this manner, the best 
human barrier against error ; and furnishes the best 
means, within the reach of man, for the general diffu- 
sion, and perpetuation, of the truth, influence^ and 
blessings, of the Gospel. 


Finally. A general controid aver all these subjects is 
vested in the Boards of Trustees^ and Visitors^ cojistitut- 
ed by the Founders. 

These Boards, it is hoped, will feel in a deep and 
affecting manner the importance of the trust, commit- 
ted to their hands ; and with fervent prayers. Evan- 
gelical zeal, and Cluistian fidelity, labour, unceasingly, 
to render the Institution, in all respects, extensively 
iind eminently useful. Where so much has been done 
for so good a purpose ; it ought to be hoped, that no 
beneficial effect of such efforts will fail of being realiz- 
ed by the Church of Christ, either through negligence, 
or error, on the part of those, to whom the general 
management of it is entrusted. 

We ai*e assembled, my Friends and Brethi'en, on 
the birth day of an Institution, consecrated to the ser- 
vice of the Redeemer, and destined to furnish a suc- 
cession of able and faithful Ministers for the City of 
our God. Those, to Whom^/ze immediate care of it is 
committed, cannot fail to realize the importance of that 
solemn office, which they will this day begin to sus- 
tain. They will, however, suffer me to assume the 
task, not of an Instructor ; as unnecessaiy to them as 
unsuited to me ; but of an affectionate and Christian 
Monitor, disposed with fraternal good-will to awaken 
iji them, on this interesting occasion, the remembrance 
of their duty. 

When Christ ascended on high^ and led captivity cap- 
tive ; he gave gifts unto men. Among these gifts, 
Pastors and Teachers were, after the Apostles, more 
important than any other. These are the persons, by 


whose instrumentality the salvation of their fellovv-meif ^ 
in all lands and ages, is chiefly accomplished. These 
are the pillars, on which, in this world, primarily 
stands that glorious building, the Church of God. 
From the faithful labours of these men, as instruments 
in the hands of the Spirit of God, have been derived 
the prevalence of the Gospel in the world, thp *-''jrrr' s 
of the cross, the religion of the East and the West, and 
the immortal life of millions, who are now united to the 
general assembly of the first born. 

To form, and accomplish, for this sacred, this celes- 
tial office, such youths, as spontaneously devote them- 
selves to it, is the design, for which this School of the 
Prophets is erected. To this noble design, you, my 
Brethren, are solemnly set apart this day. I feel my- 
self warranted to assert, that you will think no labour, 
no care, no self-denial, too great to be cheerfully en- 
countered in this honourable employment. 

To compass this divine purpose, it is indispensable, 
that he, who is destined to the Ministry, should be 
effectually instructed unto the kingdom of heaven. He 
must not be a Novice^ lest, being lifted up with pride^ 
he fall into the condemnation of the devil. The Truth 
of God, alone makes mtwfree from the bondage of sin 
and death. But he, w ho is to preach it, must know what 
it is ; or he will never be able to communicate it to 
his hearers. To this knowledge laborious study, and 
sound instruction, are the only avenues. Without these 
advantages the professed Teacher may indeed be a 
Christian, but he cannot be a Teacher. Children and 
slaves may be Cluistians. 


Equally indispensable is it, that he should believe the 
truth. Whatever knowledge he may have amassed of 
this glorious object, whatever acquaintance he may have 
gained with the Scriptures, it can, obviousl}% be to no 
useful purpose, so far as his Ministry is concerned, or 
the salvation of his flock, unless he also believes the 
doctrines, which they contain. What he does not be- 
lieve he will never teach, and they will never hear. The 
Bible may in the most extensive manner be in his mind ; 
and Plato or Epictetus, Behmen or Sxvedenhorg^ Hume 
or Herbert^ may fill his sermons. All his public and 
private instructions may be made up of the bew ildered 
dreams of enthusiasm, or the frosty morals of heartless 
philosophy ; and be as destitute of Evangelical trutli, as 
barren of hope, and hfe, as a Nubian desert. Fifty-two 
times in a year the Sabbath may dawn with the light of 
heaven, the Sanctuary open the gates of immortality, the 
assembly of perishing sinners convene, and the Minister 
ascend the sacred desk ; and yet no call of Mercy be 
heard ; no voice of the Redeemer summon them to re- 
pentance, and faith, and love ; and no invitation of a 
forgiving God announce to them the tidings of immor- 
tal glory. Under such a Teacher, his flock will grope 
for the wall like the blind, and grope as if they had no 
eyes ; stumble at noon day as in the night ; and will be 
in desolate places as dead men.'^- Throughout his whole 
Ministiy he will be merely a substitute for a Christian 
Pastor ; an automaton, in the place, and dress, and 
business, of a living man. 

* Isaiah 59. 10. 


What must be the feelings of such a Preacher at the 
gi'eat day of account ? " F<?," said St. Paul to his own 
converts in Corinth, Philippic and Thessalonica, ''^ are 
our hope, our joy, and our crown of rejoicing in the clay 
of Christ Jesus y But who shall be the crown, the joy, 
or the hope, of such a Preacher as this ? When he 
stands before the final Judge ; what must be the sub- 
jects of his account ? When he confesses, as he will be 
compelled to confess, that he has preached another Gos- 
pel, than that which Paid preached ; must he not be 
withered by the remembrance, that the same Judge has 
said of every such Preacher, " Let him be anathema V 
What plea will he make for intruding upon the preroga- 
tive of Jehovah, and substituting for ^^ truth, the 
contrivances, the whims, the plirenzies, of his own 
moon- struck mind ? What can such a man rehearse 
before the tremendous bar of God, but wasted talents, a 
prostituted Ministry, dishonest sermons, and a ruined 
Congregation ? In the mean time, his flock, committed 
to his charge, that they might obtain salvation imder his 
preaching, and now summoned around him to be wit- 
nesses of his condemnation, and of the guilt on which it 
is founded, must, unltfss prevented by other means, only 
share in his ruin. On their salvation such a man can 
never have spent a thought, nor employed a moment. 
With what confusion must he now behold them all led 
by himself into the broad and crooked road, which goes 
doxvn to the chambers of death ? Without an attempt 
made, or a wish cherished, to feed them with the bread, 
or gather them into the fold, of life, he has quietly be- 
held them advance, or has rather taken them by the 


hand, and walked coolly by their side, to the world of 
perdition. With what feelings must such a Minister, 
and such a Flock, regard each other at this amazing in- 
terview ? With what agony must he behold their eter- 
nal ruin ; and know, that it has been extensively deriv- 
ed from himself ? How fearfully must their eyes kindle, . 
and their bosoms burn, with resentment, against the 
author of injuries, which transcend all limits, and of 
sufferings, which know neither alleviation nor end ? 

It is, also, of the last consequence, that the Preacher 
should feel the truth, which he knows, and believes. 
A cold Preacher naturally makes a frozen audience. 
The truths of the Gospel are of such immense import 
in themselves, that it is difficult for a hearer to believe 
the Preacher, who utters them with a wind-and- weather 
indifference, to be in earnest. Should he escape this 
censure, the sympathy (if I may call it such) of a stag- 
nant countenance, a marbled posture, and a lifeless 
tongue, will reach every heart in his Congregation ; and 
benumb with a paralytic power all the living, ^\^aking 
energy of the mind. A religious assembly, habitually 
thus addressed, will soon become a counteq^art to one 
of those silent Congregations, depicted in Eastern tales ; 
over which a Genie has stretched his mysterious ^vand, 
and changed them all into living statues : an assembly 
of forms and features merely ; possessed of minds in- 
deed, but minds which have lost the power to act, of 
eyes which cannot see, and ears which cannot hear. A 
spectator, uninformed of the transmutation which they 
have undergone, believes them to be human beings. 
He calls to them ; hut no voice answers ; no eve tiu'ns 


tovs^ard him the look of consciousness ; no motion, no 
instinctive impulse, gives the sign of remaining life. 
Lost in astonishment, he looks around him, to find in 
this crowd of images living men and women ; but dis- 
cerns nothing beside silence, solitude, and death. The 
surrounding walls, mistaken by him for the residence 
of intelligent beings, are changed into a vault, entomb* 
ing the remains of departed man. Amazed, over- 
whelmed, despairing of any future return of thought, 
and sense, and life, to these inanimate forms, he throws 
around the last gaze of horror, sighs, trembles, and re- 
tires. Who would willingly be such a Preacher ? Who 
could consent thus to benumb the flock, whose immor- 
tal welfare ^vas committed to him by the Redeemer ? 
Who, let me further ask, could be the voluntary in- 
strument of educating such Preachers as these ? Who 
Avould not think life well spent in educating those of the 
contrary character ? 

Trace, my beloved Bretliren, now to be solemnly in- 
ducted into these Christian professorships, (one of you 
for a length of time already employed in the Ministry ; 
the other still longer devoted to it, and on this occasion 
to be solemnly consecrated to its official duties;) trace, 
with me, the high import, and immense utiHty, of the 
pastoral function. Take the simplest object, by which 
it can be illustrated : a single Sinner, making liis escape 
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty, 
and ^x)A privileges, of the Sons of God. See him hum- 
bled in the dust under an overwhelming sense of his 
guilt, and voluntarily prostrated at the foot of the cross. 
Emptied of all reliance on his own righteousness, and 


casting an eye of trembling faith towards that of the 
Redeemer, he becomes a suppUant for mere mercy ; 
and commits his all into the hands of Sovereign love. 
From this period, light arises to him in the midst of the 
darkness, by which he was surrounded. Hope, serene, 
mild, and cheerful, as a morning of Paradise, daA\ns upon 
his anxious mind ; and a beam of mercy plays around 
his broken heart. The rebel has now become a peni- 
tent, and a disciple. The prodigal has fled from the 
wilderness of famine and despair ; and in all his rags 
and wretchedness is tracing his weaiy way to the house 
of his father, the mansion of everlasting peace, abund- 
ance, and delight. Insthictively he cries out, at the 
distant sight of this Glorious Being, " Father, I have 
sinned agai?ist heaven, and before thee ; and am no more 
worthy to be called thy son. Make me^as one of thy 
hired senmnts.^'' Angels have renewed their joy, to 
see an immortal mind, once lost to the di\ine kingdom, 
found again. The assembly of the first born ha\'e be- 
held with transport an Intelligent creature, -once hope- 
lessly dead, again alive, to live forever. Trace this re- 
jiewed child of Adam through the remainder of his life ; 
struggling, feebly indeed, but faithfully, in the honor- 
able conflict against lust, and sin, and Satan, and 
through the grace of God struggling with success- 
Behold him a child of the Highest ; a follower of the 
Lamb ; a blessing to himself; and a blessing to man- 
kind ; throughout his earthly pilgrimage. Accompany 
him to his dying bed ; a place, to the wicked, curtained 
Avith terror,remorse,andagony,and openingtothat melan- 
rholy region, which is overspread ^^ith the blackness of 


darkness forevei'. Here, sustained by an unseen, Al- 
mighty hand, self approved, approved of God, his soul 
stands on the awful verge of eternity, serene, collected, 
superior to alarm, and smiling in conscious safety. At 
the call of its Maker, awful but delightful, it bids a 
cheerful adieu to these regions of sin and sorrow ; and, 
stretching its pinions for its final home, wings its flight 
through the immeasurable vast, directed by an unerring 
and invisible Guide, to the place of its happy destina- 
tion. Burst the veil, which hides the unseen world 
from mortal eyes ; and follow this renovated man to the 
bar of God. Listen, while the awful Judge pronounces, 
" Well done^ good and faithful servant. Thou hast been 
faithful over a few things : I will make thee Ruler over 
many things; enter thou into the joy o/* ?/zy Lord." 
Pursue his entrance into that happy world. See the 
gates of life open to receive him. Hear the songs 
of transport and triumph, and survey with hum- 
ble adoration the smiles of infinite complacency, 
which welcome his arri^-al. Behold him begin the im- 
mortal career of wisdom, virtue, glory, and felicity; 
and unceasingly advance from this happy goal in the 
ascending progress towards perfection. See him day 
by day brighter, and better, and happier ; more lovely 
in the sight of God ; a richer blessing to the universe ; 
a more glorious ornament to the divine kingdom; 
through ages, which cannot end. Of all these AA^onder 
ful blessings, and of preventing the evils of endless sin 
and endless woe ; the wi-etched character, and dreadful 
reward, of the impenitent ; Ministers are the chief in- 
struments in the hand of God. How immense is the 


evil prevented, on the one hand, and the good achieved 
on the other ? Extend both considerations to hundreds, 
to thousands, to milhons, of immortal beings ; and you 
cannot fail to feel the nature, the importance, the glory, 
of the pastoral office. 

In this solemn and sublime object, of importance lit- 
erally boundless, you cannot but find motives, which 
acknowledge no limit, to the vigorous and faithful dis- 
charge of your professional duties. To these motives 
let me add others, to animate you, and all those who have 
embarked with you in this delightful purpose. Who 
have given birth to this school of Christ ? A small, a 
very small number of Individuals ; who have thus 
evangelically testified, that God has not showered wealth 
upon them in vain. This honourable disposal of prop- 
erty I know not how sufficiently to commend : while 
delicacy, perhaps, would on this occasion, forbid me to 
commend it at all. In justice to my own feelings, I 
cannot avoid saying, that it is property nobly consecrat- 
ed to God, to Christianity, to the salvation of mankind. 
Nor can I hesitate to believe, that the praise of the Do- 
nors is already in a great part of the Churches in this 
land ; or that the Children of many generations xvill rise 
up^ and call them blessed. Can this bright example of 
love to the souls of men be, for a moment, out of sight 
to you, or any of your coadjutors in this benevolent 
design ? 

The present, wonderful j^Era in the affairs of men 
furnishes also a combination of the most solemn in- 
ducements to every faithful exertion in this sacred busi- 
ness. The ancient establishments, ci^'il, literarv, and 


religious, of the Old World are, to a great extent, 
crumbling into ruins. The throne of the Romish Hier- 
aiTh is shaken to its base. The tottering mosque of 
Mahommedism announces its own approaching fall. 
What a multitude of crowns have already vanished, 
how many republics have been wiped away, from the 
fi ce of the eardi ? Look at the kingdoms, which once, 
like the cedai's of Lebanon, exalted themselves above 
all the trees of the field. The st?'angers, the terrible of 
the nations^ have cut them off; and the people of the 
earth have gone down from their shadow. Look upon 
their cities, they have been searched with candles. 
Their goods have become a booty ; and their houses a 
desolation. Look at their Princes and Nobles. Their 
Kings have gone into captivity; their Priests and their 
Princes together. They have called the Nobles to the 
kingdom; but none were there; and their Princes have 
become nothing. Look to their fields. They ai^e whit- 
ened with human bones ; they are drenched xvith hu- 
man blood. Mark the tempest which lowers in the 
eastern skirt of the heavens. The Lord hath his way 
in the ivhirlwind and in the storm ; and the clouds are 
the dust of his feet. He rtbuketh the sea^ and maketh it 
dry ; and drieth up all the rivers. Bashan languisheth^ 
and Carmely and the fiower of Lebanon languisheth. 
The i7iountains quake at him, and the hills melt ; and 
the earth is burnt at his presence : yea, the world and 
all that dwell therein. 

In this terrible day, as in every other, the church of 
God is the safeguard of mankind ; the salt, A\hich keeps 
this putrid world from absolute corruption. For its 


safety, its peace, and its prosperity, at all times the first 
objects of benevolent exertion, and the most dear to the 
heart of piety, peculiar efforts are now demanded ; ef- 
forts, proportioned in their vigour to the greatness of 
the danger. There is not a single reason for discour- 
agement. The gates of hell cannot prevail. The enemy 
ivill, indeed, come in like a Jlood ; but the Spirit of the 
Lord will as certainly lift up a standard against him. 

Such a standard is already lifted up. Gloomy and 
dreadful as is the aspect of the political horizon, the 
Christian world has already roused itself from the slum- 
bers of two centuries, and with a spirit of prayer, zeal, 
and liberality, scarcely exampled, has wafted the Bible 
to distant nations, and planted missions in the region 
and shadow of death. In the East and the West, the 
North and the South, a field so vast, as to leave the 
utmost stretch of human sight, is already whitening to 
the harvest. The demand for faithful labourers mocks 
calculation. " Come over to Macedonia^ and help uSy'' 
is audibly resounded from the four ends of the earth. 
The savages of the West advance in all their naked- 
ness, sin, and suffering ; and exclaim, " When shall 
the nations, which sit in darkness , behold the light of the 
Sun of Righteousness ? Ethiopia already stretches forth 
her hands unto God, and unto his Church. The na- 
tions of the East, and the islands of the sea, already wait 
for his law. The wilderness, and the cities thereof, lift 
'up their voice ; the villages that Kedar doth inhabit : 
the inhabitants of the rock sing ; they shout from the 
fop of the mountains. 


For Xioii's sake, my Brethren, let us, now, not hold 
our peace ; for Jerusalem'' s sake let us give ourselves no 
rest ; until her righteousness go forth as brightness, a?icl 
her salvation as a lamp that burneth. On the efforts of 
the present generation, and on ours, if we are faithful, 
as truly as on those of others, depend the knowledge, 
the piety, the salvation, of the generations yet to come. 
The inheritance of those who are unborn is b}'^ the Father 
of the universe put into the hands of the Christians of 
this age, to be preserved, and managed. As faithful 
stewards, let us transmit the divine patrimony, not im- 
paired, but improved. Let them see, that the trust 
has been faithfully discharged ; and enter upon the 
possession, unimpoverished by the negligence, or fraud, 
and enriched by the diligence, care, and integrity, of 
those -who have gone before them. 

The period, my Brethren, is hastening ; the morn- 
ing star will soon arise, which will usher in that illus- 
trious da}^, destined to scatter the darkness of this 
melancholy A\'orkl, and cover the earth Avith light and 
glory ; the second birth- day of truth, righteousness, 
and salvation. Soon shall the Church awake, and put 
on strength. Soon shall she be clothed xvith beautiful 
garments. Soon shall she behold God coining xvith 
vengeance, even our God with a recompense, to save 
her from all her enemies. Soon shall peace be extend- 
ed to her as a river ; and the glory of the Gentiles as a 
Jloiving stream. "I'he Jeivs, provoked to jealousy, and 
roused from the torpor of eighteen centm-ies, shall be- 
liokl a standard lifted up among the jwtions, and an en- 
sign among the people, summoning tli( m r.j^ain to the 


land of their fathers, and to the kingdom of Go d . Obe- 
dient to the divine call, Judali and Ephraim, no more 
twain, but one, shall hasten from the remotest regions 
of their dispersion ; and the receiving of them be to the 
world as life from the dead. The heathen, with one 
immense and united suffrage, shall cast their idols to the 
moles ^ and to the hats. Holiness to the Lord shall he 
written^ alike, on all the enjoyments, and all the pur- 
suits, of man. The earth shall become one vast tem- 
ple of Jehovah ; and it's morning and evening incense 
shall be wafted to heaven by the whole family oiAdam. 
In effectuating this mighty change, this universal 
renovation, no miracles will be employed, but miracles 
of grace. The grace of God, the true alchemic stone, 
which transmutes the heart of rock into gold, will every 
where accompany the ordinances of the Gospel, and 
the Evangelical ministrations of men. Ministers, in- 
structed unto the kingdom of heaven, faithful, zealous, 
ivise^ and thus fitted to turn many to righteousness, will 
be the instruments, by which the Spirit of truth will 
accomplish this divine transformation. To form, and 
furnish, such ministers, therefore, is to contribute to 
this glorious work ; to convey the blessing down to 
succeeding ages, and to the remote regions of the earth ; 
to awaken the song of transport in lands yet untravers- 
ed, and in millions yet unborn ; to become benefactors 
to the nations of the Millenium ; and to increase the 
multitude, the happiness, and the glory, of heaven. 

To aid this exalted purpose what labour shall be spar- 
ed? Whose prayers shall not ascend to God ? Whose 
Jieart shall not glow with benevolence ? Whose arms 


shall not be strung with vigour to the undertaking ? 
Go D forbid, that any of those, to whom either the in- 
i&truction, or the management, of this Seminary is en- 
trusted, should be slothful, negligent, heartless, prayer- 
less, or unfaithful, in the sacred trust. On this solemn 
occasion, can we hesitate, my Brethren, to yield our- 
selves, as a free-will offerings unto God ? Shall we not, 
with the spirit of the Psalmist, say to the Church, whose 
interests, in one important sense, he has committed to 
our care, " If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right 
hand forget her cunning ; let my tongue cleave to the 
roof of my mouth. ' ' 

With the same views, with the same affections, must 
this school of Christ be regarded by the inhabitants 
of this town, and its vicinity. In the midst of you, my 
Friends and Brethren, the Creator of all things has been 
pleased to plant this choice vine. Long have you been 
favoured with peculiar privileges. God has been 
pleased to raise up in the midst of you a Family, long 
distinguished above all others, in this land, for its libe- 
rality to Learning, and equally devoted to the interests 
of Religion.* The blessings, which you have derived 
from them, added to the innumerable mercies which 
Go D has poured in upon you from other sources, have 
made your lot eminently desirable. The infinite Bene- 
factor is now giving you a singular token of his 
goodness. This plant, we trust, our heavenly Father 
hath planted. I need not tell 'you, that it can never 
flourish in a moral wilderness ; nor that its proper seat 
is a well rvatered garden, a fruitful f eld which the Lo R :^ 

' The family of Phillips. 


hath planted. Let every tiling around it become a& 
Eden. Let your morals, and your communications, 
be such, as, instead of corrupting, shall improve, and 
purify, those of the youths, who shall be sent for edu- 
cation to this school of the Prophets. Let the flame 
of Piety, kindled all around them, warm their hearts 
with love to God, to their Ministry, and to the salva- 
tion of their fellow- men. 

With you, with us, all good men, who become ac- 
quainted with the nature and design of this Institution, 
will unite their best wishes, and their fervent prayers, 
for its prosperity, and for its happy influence on the 
salvation of mankind. That God may smile, that the 
dews of heaven may descend, upon it, who, that loves 
Religion, can fail earnestly to wish, and unceasingly 
to pray. O thou Father of all mercies^ and God of 
all grace J bow thine heavens^ and come down. Delight 
to dwell here, and command here, from generation to 
generation, thy peculiar blessing, even life forevermore ; 
through Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son, and our Sa- 
viour. Amen. 




There are but few transactions among men, in their 
nature and consequences more solemn and important, 
than that of consecrating a person to the sacred work 
of the gospel ministry, as a servant of the most high- 
Go d, to show unto men the way of salvation. 

The consecrating prayer and the laying on of the 
hands of the Presbytery are perhaps the only rites, 
essential to this solemn transaction. From the first ages 
of Christianity, however, a solemn charge or exhortation 
has usually been given to the person ordained. Having, 
agreeably to antient usage, performed these rites, we 
now declare you. Dr. Eliphalet Pearson, "to be 
" ordained and set apart to the work of the gospel min- 
" istry, in whatever part of the vineyard of the Lord 
" the great Head of the Church may occasionally call 
" you to labour." In particular, you are to co-operate 
with other Professors, in the newly founded Theolo- 
gical Institution, in which, it is contemplated, a 
Church will in time be gathered and established. 

We now, reverend and dear Sir, solemnly exhort 
you before God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his 
elect Angels, to take heed unto thyself, and to the peo- 
ple of God, to whom you may be called to minister ; 
to feed them with the sincere milk of the word. Shun 


fiot to declare the whole counsel of God. Keep notli- 
5ng back, that may be profitable to them, who shall hear 
you. Put on the whole armour of God. Hold fast the 
faithful word, that you may be able both to exhort and 
to convince gainsa}'^rs. By manifestation of the Truth 
endeavour to commend yourself to every mans con- 
science in the sight of God. In imitation of our divine 
Master, the meek and humble Jesus, be cloth?ed with 
huttiility ; and may you enter on the arduous duties of 
your office, strengthened with the armour of righteous- 
ness on the right hand and on the left. Be sensible of 
your continual need of divine light and grace. Seek 
continually the truth of the gospel, and with energy 
defend and propagate it against the attacks of infidelity, 
in what form soever it may appear. Be watchful against 
the numerous errors, which prevail, and are levelled 
against pure morality, true piety, and the very founda- 
tion of unadulterated Christianity. Be vigilant, be zeal- 
ous, remembering that, while men slept, the enemy 
sowed tares. 

Preach the word, not as a man pleaser, but with sin- 
gleness of heart. Amuse not your hearers with unedi- 
fying speculations or questions, which only engender 
strife. Though, when called to alarm the hardened 
sinner, you are with the energy of St. Paul, knowing the 
terrors of the Lord, to persuade men ; yet be thou to 
the returning sinner, like Barnabas, a son of consolation. 
Assail the hosts of infidelity with the boldness and res- 
olution of Boanerges ; but to them, who love our Lord 
Jesus Christ in sincerity, exhibit the mild, the en- 
gaging temper and affection of that disciple^ who leaned 


©n Jesus' bosom. In all your discourses remember 
the momentous consequences of what you deliver, that 
the word will be a savour of life unto life, or of death 
unto death. 

If called to invest others with the sacred office of the 
ministry, remember the solemn injunction of the Apos- 
tle ; " lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be par- 
*' taker of other men's sins." You are now authorized 
to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's 
supper to proper subjects. Wherever you are called 
to minister, bless the people in the name of the Lord. 

In managing the discipline of the Church, wherever 
this may be incumbent on you, regard the rules pre- 
scribed, and the examples exhibited, by our divine 
Saviour and his Apostles. Do nothing by partiality ; 
but, as circumstances may require, reprove, rebuke^ 
and exhort with all long suffering and patience. Do 
the work of an Evangelist in all things, and make full 
proof of thy ministry. Often peruse, and strictly ob- 
serve, the solemn charges, written by inspired men and 
recorded in the sacred word. Discharge the duties of 
your office with that meekness, seriousness, and good 
fidelity, which the gospel requires. 

As you and your colleague Professors are to be 
heads in this new School for raising up of our sons 
for Prophets, and of our young men for Nazarites ; great, 
very great, will be the weight of duty incumbent on 
.you. The glorious gospel, you are called to teach, was 
' accounted foolishness by the learned Greeks, and is still 
scornfully termed foolishness by a vain philosophy, and 
science falsely so called. It becomes you to consecrate 


your literature and talents to the important purpose of 
showing that the religion, which the scriptures reveal, 
is most consistent with true philosopliy ; a science, 
ivhich reason approves ; and the power of God, and 
the wisdom of God for salvation, to every one, that 

From your known character, age, capacity, erudition, 
and experience, much will be justly expected of you ; 
the eyes of thousands will be upon you. The eyes of 
the benevolent Founders and Benefactors of this Insti- 
tution ; the eyes of its Visitors and Trustees, the eyes 
of the Clergy, the eyes of the friends and of the enemies 
of religion, will be upon you. Moreover the eyes of 
the elect Angels, of the blessed Jesus, and the eternal 
God, will be upon you. Impressed with a sense of 
this high responsibility, be thou faithful unto death ; 
and may the blessuig of thousands come upon thee. 




Singular m the history of our country and inter- 
esting in a high degree to the friends of the Redeemer, 
are the transactions of this day. A new era in our 
Churches now commences; and events may be ex- 
pected to follow, of incalculable moment to their purity 
and prosperity. A new Institution, the offspring of 
Christian liberality, broad and scriptural in its founda- 
tion, richly endowed, consecrated to the interests of 
Evangelical truth, rises to bless our country. 

From the days of Samuel the prophet Theological 
Institutions have existed in the world, whose object 
has been to educate young men, of competent talents 
and piety, for the sacred work of instructing their fel- 
low men in the doctrines and duties of the true Re- 

The men appointed over the first schools of the 
prophet as Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha, were men di- 
vinely taught of God, and by Him ordained to the sa- 
cred and responsible office. They and their pupils 
sustained toward each other the endearing relation of 
fathers and sons. My father^ my father^ exclaim- 
ed Elisha, when he beheld Elijah his master ascend- 
ing to heaven in a chariot of fire ; having been fore 


warned of the event by the sons of the prophets, who 
were at the school in Jericho. 

Having before them this example of the character of 
the Professors in the first Theological Institutions, es- 
tablished under divine direction, the Associate Found- 
ers have wisely provided in their Statutes, that their 
Professors shall be ordained Ministers of the Gospel. 
Their appointment has fallen on a man, whom the pub- 
lic voice has designated to the high and responsible of- 
fice, with which he is this day to be publicly invested. 
His age, experience, and acquirements in human and 
sacred literature, qualify him peculiarly to be a Father 
in this infant, but promising Institution ; and also to 
minister in holy things, and to break the bread of life, 
to the sons of the prophets^ whom Providence shall 
place under his instruction ; and to others, as he shall 
have opportunity. 

This day, my dear Brother, forms an interesting 
epoch in your life. Your mind, in reviewing the past 
and in contemplating the future, must be filled with va- 
rious emotions of thankfulness and solicitude. Won- 
derful has been the past ; pregnant with great events is 
the future. The Lord hath prospered and, we confi- 
dently ti'ust, will prosper, an Institution, which you 
have been eminently instrumental, with others, in rais- 
ing to advance his glory, and the best good of mankind. 
Unceasing praise be to His great name. 

" It is a true saying. If a man .desire the office of a 
bishop, he desiretha good work." This sacred work, 
my Brother, was your early choice ; and though, after a 


few years employment in it, as a candidate, Providence 
directed you to occupy, for nearly thirty years, diiferent, 
but honourable spheres of usefulness ; yet, during that 
period, you have not ceased to desire the office, which 
you originally contemplated. This desire, though not 
in the way which you had preferred ; yet in the better 
way, as we hope, Avhich divine Provid'ence has prescrib- 
ed, is now accomplished. You have received ordination 
to the sacred work of the gospel ministry, by the laying 
on of the hands of the Presbytery. 

Perceiving the qualifications and gifts with which the 
grace of God hath furnished you, for preaching the un- 
searchable riches of Christ, and for training up young 
men for the like office ; the Council, convened for your 
ordination, have directed me, in their name, to give you 
the Right Hand of Fellowship. Take, therefore, my 
Brother, this right hand. Receive it as a symbol of our 
I personal friendship. Receive it also, and especially, as 
our acknowledgment that you sustain, equally with us 
I who are ordained to preach the gospel, the office of a 
\ minister of Jesus Christ ; and that you are invested with 
all the privileges and authority belonging to the sacred 
i function. By this friendly token we bid you welcome, 
as a fellow labourer in the vineyard of our common Lord, 
We doubt not, that you will cheerfully reciprocate all 
Christian acts of kindness and assistance, which are ap- 
propriate to this honourable office. 

We have witnessed the diligence and ability, with which 
1 you have discharged arduous and complicated duties, 
j belonging to the respectable stations, which you have al- 


ready filled. This fiimishes a satisfying pledge of your 
future fidelity in the still more important offices, which 
you now sustain. 

We rejoice that God, in his wise and good Provi- 
dence, has assigned this favoured spot, as the place of 
your residence, and honoured you as one of the princi- 
pal agents in founding this School of the prophets. 
May the Church, which is to be here established and 
placed under the joint care of the Professors, become as 
a well watered, skilfully cultivated, and plentifully fur- 
nished, nursery for our American Churches ; from 
whence shall be successively transplanted Trees of Right- 
eousness; Plants of renown^ which shall flourish and 
bear abundance of the fruits of holiness, in the courts 
of our God. 

May you, dear Sir, your fellow Professors, and your 
pupils ; may the Trustees and Visitors of this Institu- 
tion, and its venerable and respected Founders, contin- 
ually enjoy the presence, direction, and blessing of the 
great Head of the Church. 

Were the departed spirits of those Worthies, who in 
their heaven- inspired wisdom and pious charities, in the 
name of Jehovah, laid broad the foundation, of this lit- 
erary and religious Seminary, and consecrated it to His 
honour ; — were the venerable spirits of these men now 
present with us, (and who can say they are not) and wit- 
nesses of the transactions of this day ; doubtless they 
would mingle their praises with ours, to the God of 
heaven and of earth. Most cordially would they join 
their prayers with ours to Him, in whom dwelleth allful- 


ness of grace, that blessings in abundance may be pour- 
ed down from above, on this hitherto prospered Institu- 
tion, that so its increasing influence may be purifying 
and healthful to the Churches of Christ ; be deeply and 
happily felt m every part of our land, and endure, as the 
Sun and the Moon, forever and ever. Amen. 


At i#'-^. 

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